In single-flow programs, bottles, cans, and other containers, as well as paper grades, are brought together in a recycling bin. A group of organizations, including AMERIPEN, the Consumer Brands Association, the Food Industry Association, PLASTICS, the Glass Packaging Institute, and the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, opposed parts of the bill. The group also called for packaging in contact with food to be completely exempt from the bill, noting recent bills on recycled content in Washington and California that do not include food packaging in their rules. End-market specifications for recycled materials have tightened, making non-recyclable items in their curbside bin a bigger problem for facilities that separate and process what you place in that bin.

Over the past 10 years, Camden County, like many other places, began single-stream recycling, where residents combine all recyclables into a single bin for collection. Check with your local recycling coordinator to find delivery sites for block styrofoam packaging material. Because end markets for recyclables have tightened their standards for the recyclables they purchase, the presence of moisture from food and liquid waste in containers has become a major problem. Take-away plastic containers are no longer recyclable due to changes in foreign plastic recycling markets.

Curbside recycling programs follow the same basic rules throughout New Jersey, and your local program may include additional materials. The new law, if properly applied, will make New Jersey a leader in reducing the use of virgin plastics. Always check with your local recycling coordinator for the latest news and updates on your local program. The fact is that these non-recyclable items were never supposed to be placed in your recycling bin.

If signed, supporters say the bill will be the most ambitious recycled content law in the Northeast and could serve as a model for neighboring states to boost the local recycling economy. The law establishes recycled content requirements starting in 2024 for certain plastic, glass and paper containers and prohibits the packaging of polystyrene peanuts.

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